comscore Kokua Line: Are at-home COVID-19 tests accepted for restaurant entry? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Are at-home COVID-19 tests accepted for restaurant entry?

Question: I see people lining up for the COVID-19 testing to go to the restaurants and bars, which made me wonder: Aren’t the at-home tests accepted? You can buy them now at drugstores.

Answer: Yes, negative test results from at-home COVID-19 tests are acceptable in Honolulu County’s Safe Access O‘ahu program, as long as the test is a molecular or antigen test authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and it was taken within 48 hours of entering the restaurant or bar, according to, the website that explains the program’s specifics.

It advises businesses about verifying at-home test results, saying “the business should only accept the test if they reasonably believe the test came in the allowed 48-hour timeframe and was taken by the individual presenting it.”

Businesses covered by Safe Access O‘ahu are required to have a written protocol explaining how they comply with the program’s requirements. How they verify at-home tests should be included in the document, the website says.

“Some methods for verification include, but are not limited to: a screenshot of app with test result for at-home tests that have app components; a receipt for a test of the same brand within the timeframe; a photo of result with time/date visible,” it says.

A person testing at home likely would have to pay out of pocket for the test, buying it at a drugstore or online. Perhaps that’s one reason many people are willing to line up at a testing site that offers no-fee service.

Q: The extra $300 a week helped a lot and we are missing it. Did they expand the other program to pay mortgages or is it still only rent?

A: Unless you are a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands lessee, only rental aid seems to be available in Honolulu County, for households adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Honolulu County’s Rental and Utility Relief Program (RURP) is open to new applicants, but only for rental and utility relief. Up to 12 months of help is available, renewable at 3-month intervals. See for more information.

Meanwhile, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement announced Thursday that mortgage assistance is now available for DHHL lessees hurt by the pandemic. Eligible expenses include mortgage payments, homeowners insurance and utilities (electric, gas, water/sewer and trash), according to the announcement. For more information, see hawaiian

As for the $300 a week, you are referring to federally funded unemployment compensation that expired earlier this month.

Q: Will the driver’s licenses be extended again? For a variety of reasons I didn’t get it done during the COVID-19 lull and now with delta I don’t go out unless absolutely necessary.

A: It doesn’t appear so, although we won’t know for sure until closer to the current emergency proclamation’s expiration date.

Honolulu County’s Department of Customer Serv­ices expects the state’s waiver on expired Hawaii driver’s licenses, instruction permits and identification cards to end on Oct. 4, and is urging Oahu residents to renew as soon as possible. Appointments are available via the reservation system.

Q: Are eviction notices allowed now?

A: Yes. However, how soon a person can be evicted depends on how long it’s been since they last paid rent. A landlord could have begun the eviction process in August for a tenant who hadn’t paid rent for four months or more, but the process can’t begin until January for a tenant who is one month behind, according to the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said mortgage-holders could apply for utility relief through Honolulu County’s Rental and Utility Relief Program.
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